ARCHBISHOP MOUNEER ANIS RESPONDS TO QUESTIONS
[Transcript starts 34 mins and 17 seconds into video]
Moderator: At this time I think we can open up the floor so that other people have an opportunity to ask some questions ”“ Bishop Dickson
Q: Very quickly ”“ I think most of us here agree with the vast majority of what has been said here today. There is one thing that Archbishop Anis said that sticks with me and I felt this has been the focus we should have, and that’s with the phrase ”˜we need a joint commitment to read and interpret together’. My question is: What then? What then as a Communion do we do? We don’t just come together and have conferences like we have been doing at Lambeth. When do we do something to support the truth that we’re proclaiming? And I would like to raise the question: If this is not indeed the time to call for a general council within the Anglican Communion? And I suggest that the strength of that could be found in the African church. Now I would just appreciate your reaction to that.
Moderator: I would love to respond to that but I have no power and no authority to do such a thing, but Archbishop Anis you do, so would you like to respond?
Archbishop Anis: I agree that it is time now to take the lead. The Church in Africa and the Global South, not only them, but also the orthodox Anglicans from around the world need to take the lead.
In the last 10 years or so we have been reactive and spent a lot of time in reacting to what The Episcopal Church is doing and the wrong things that are happening in the Anglican Communion. I think we need now to take the lead, and we really look at the gathering of the bishops and the Primates of the Global South, with those bishops from dioceses that are orthodox in the West, as a Conciliar body. So that is, is going to happen, and that is happening now. This is a Conciliar body. We need to be like a faithful remnant that keeps the Word, that keeps the centrality and the authority of the Word in the middle of the Anglican Communion. We don’t have to bother much now with what is going on around us. We have to move forward and do things.
And I have said that several times before, that the orthodox church in Egypt was a small, oppressed, displaced church at the time when the Arians took over and became powerful; and in 625 AD the Arians disappeared, and don’t ask me why they disappeared, they disappeared. Even the Coptic Orthodox don’t know how they disappeared. But the faithful remnant are the ones who are strong now; ready to pay the price for their faith and taking a great lead in the Middle East. So we have to. I agree with you.
Q: I agree that we need a reformation of the great ministry of preaching the Word both in season and out of season, but we are also desperately in need of a ministry of presence. I was one of those who was privileged to enjoy the conference in Jerusalem, one of the great highlights of my life – to see bishops, archbishops, clergy, laity from all over the world in the first five minutes of the conference be drawn into the Spirit, and to be singing in the Spirit, together ”“ many of whom had never spoken in tongues or sung in the Spirit before, and weren’t even sure what it was that was happening. But there was such joy in that time together. The thing that made Lambeth 2008 so hard was that that presence was curiously absent and I could not help but wonder how much Lambeth 2008 would have been enriched by the presence of those who were in Jerusalem ”“ how the presence of our current House of Bishops in The Episcopal Church could be enriched by a vital, determined and unapologetic presence of orthodox bishops. Since the early days of Episcopalians United and the many other groups that have formed, we as orthodox have remained reactionary and our reactionism has made us determined to withdraw our presence, rather than to advance the presence of the Kingdom and to advance the proclamation of the Word. It has not served the Gospel well, I don’t believe. How can we determine to be present and the same time have fellowship one with another that strengthens and encourages us, and at the same time holds the rest of the church accountable?
Archbishop Anis: In Lambeth 2008, I attended Lambeth 2008; I didn’t believe in withdrawal. But unfortunately I was faced by the fact that meetings like this are manipulated, orchestrated ”“ orchestrated in a way that nothing happens. And I felt now that it’s a waste of time when you go to a place where the results and the outcome is already decided; and there is no consultation in order to ”˜own’ the agenda of a meeting like this, it’s cooked! – pre-cooked thing! And it is very sad, very sad, that this is happening.
But once things are done differently, I would like to assure you, you will find us right at the heart of any of the meetings even if there are people who have different views, have revisionist agendas, we are not afraid of these people, as long as the process is fair, honest, and it is not like a hidden agenda kind of thing. If there is this honesty of the process, then no one can fear to speak the truth in the presence of others.
That is why as the Secretary now of the Global South, Honorary Secretary, I want to respond to those people who say that about 10 Primates are not attending the coming Primates Meeting; they are saying they are boycotting. That is far from the truth. We are not boycotting at all the meeting. We did ask that the recommendations of the previous meetings should be followed through otherwise our meeting would be meaningless. We decided things, we recommended things, and now, time to have decisions. And we got this invitation to sit in two separate rooms, which is a joke! It’s a joke to sit in two separate rooms. And we wanted to ”“ there was not enough consultation, in order to feel that we ”˜owned’ this meeting to go to ”“ but yes, I agree one hundred percent, and that is behind our attendance to 2008. Some other people were aware of the process much better than us and they didn’t come to Lambeth.
[Our thanks to Kevin Kallsen at Anglican TV and a faithful T19 reader who provided this for us–KSH].